RICHLAND, Wash. - The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) announced that it has received more than $5 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for advanced climate research and to further its ability to analyze smart power grids.

According to Steven Ashby, PNNL’s deputy director for science and technology, “These investments will enable PNNL to accelerate progress in climate and smart grid research and development. We intend to integrate climate and power grid analyses to provide a comprehensive view of the coupled energy-climate system. This more integrated approach will provide policy makers with the data and insights needed to make science-informed decisions.”

PNNL has received $4.86 million through the Recovery Act to build a dedicated, high-performance computer for integrated assessment climate research, to understand human and natural Earth system interactions, and to create decision support tools for policy makers and the public. The computer will enable scientists to combine computer models of human factors, such as economic, energy production and consumption, and land use data with climate models.

“The high-performance computer will be dedicated to the integrated assessment community, and PNNL has been a leader in developing these models,” said Blaine Metting, PNNL’s high-performance computing and integrated assessment project manager. “After we build it and construct software for it, we’ll be able to do science that can’t now be done in this field.”

PNNL’s electric infrastructure team also is benefitting from this funding. It received $867,000 to test ways of analyzing new smart data being received from the power grid, in order to more quickly and effectively determine abnormalities, and to identify potential areas of stress before they become a problem.

“The award will enable PNNL to continue testing complex mathematical equations to better understand the scientific data coming from the new, smarter grid,” said PNNL senior engineer Henry Huang.

Publication date:08/31/2009